The 8 Key Character Traits of True Friendship in the Life of Jesus

In this two-part series, we are looking at eight key character traits of Jesus that formed the foundation of a healthy relationship.

Missed Part 1?  Click Here

  1. Advocacy (for the Other)

It is not coincidental that the name Satan, the arch-enemy of God and mankind actually means “accuser.” There is nobody who enjoys being accused. Accusation, true or not, always alienates; accusation pushes us out of the group, the community, society. Convicted criminals know the feeling of being an outcast like no one else.

Jesus’ ministry is not as accuser but as healer. This is his priestly role. The priest is a healer, reconciler, and redeemer between God and man. For healing relationships, we need to have an advocating posture toward one another. When someone knows you are truly his or her advocate, it breeds transparency. Through a non-judgemental and advocating posture, we can lead one another out of the cocoons of fear and darkness we have built around ourselves. This is the redeeming power of Gospel formed friendship.

  1. Sacrificial

Jesus was not just a priestly advocate, he as also the sacrifice that pays the price for us. Sacrifice puts the tip on the spear of advocacy. Many will advocate for someone up to a point. But only Christ advocates by the sacrifice of himself. 

The Christian is called to the imitation for Christ in his or her relationships. Sacrifice is about “upping the cost” of a relationship. Are we willing to go above and beyond what everyone else thinks we should? Jesus did. The cost for Jesus’ relationship with us was the cross.

  1. Long-suffering

In Galatians 5:22 the Apostle Paul says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…” Another way to say it is “patience.” But how we use patience today usually does not cover it. To say that someone is a patient person today does not cover the magnanimous idea behind “longsuffering” in Jesus and the Bible. 

In Jesus, we encounter enduring graciousness—patience that perseveres in the relationships, long past when others give up. Long-suffering looks at the other person holistically in their personhood. It sees them as an individual, and one in need of care even when they are themselves quite uncaring. In order to do it, it requires our last character trait we see in Jesus.

  1. Without Judgment

There is nothing we fear more than judgment. Judgment accuses, passes sentence, and publicly humiliates. Jesus stood before his hearers in non-judgemental advocacy. To be a true friend is to give up on judgment in our relationships. This does not mean we are never guilty, nor that we should not tell each other the truth. But it calls us to a relationship in a way where we constantly bear in mind that we are as susceptible to the very same sins as our brother.

Judgment defines people by their failure; the Gospel defines by the future Jesus promises. In the Gospel, we are freed to approach our spouses, children, and friends without judgment. We can be free from having to think evil of others so that we might see them for the miracles they are in the eyes of God.

Missed Part 1?  Click Here


  1. Susan Farrell

    Excellent article…..explains so much and makes it easier to understand why my faith is so important to me.

  2. Pingback:AUTHENTIC FRIENDSHIP – Part 1. – Church of The Apostles

  3. Diane Jocelyn Warner

    Loving and accepting each other looking through Jesus ‘s eyes and heart!

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